It’s almost December, and it’s the time of year when die-hard baseball fans start saying the same thing: “I miss baseball.” Trades and other hot-stove action usually keep our hunger for baseball sated in the most minimal of ways at this time of year. At this point in the off season, it would appear we are to starve.
No one is expecting much on the Tigers front when it comes to off season moves, but things have been less than exciting for the league as a whole. Should the Tigers sign Mark Appel? Who will score highest on Shohei Otani’s essay test for General Managers hoping to sign him? Brandon McCarthy pled his case. Frankly the Dodgers don’t need any help.
1. please— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) November 27, 2017
2. good food (pretty please)
3. money (lots)
4. the best fans (according to our fans)
5. great park to pitch and hit in (is this helping? we're running out of ideas)
7. seriously. please https://t.co/dEeMS11Dcl
This is the low grade grist currently in the mill. Let’s hope that changes soon. Here are a few things to keep you occupied while you wait for that stove to heat up.
Trade talk is just that
Two possibilities have been presented by MLB Trade Rumors in recent days, the veracity of which I will not speculate on. I will say at least one of them makes almost no sense to me. First, in discussing the New York Mets’ need for a second baseman, Ian Kinsler is mentioned as a possibility if the team were to look for a trade. In something a little more concrete, but less so for the fact that it doesn’t seem to make any sense, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Washington Nationals are interested in bringing Jordan Zimmermann back. Rob has been kind enough to give you a detailed break down of the pros and cons of a trade involving Zimmermann.
In a final warm stove occurrence, the Tigers avoided arbitration with Blaine Hardy, agreeing to a one-year 750 thousand dollar deal.
The Tigers are bad at baserunning
In a rare move away from discussing barrels, Casey Boguslaw of RO Baseball took an interesting look at risk vs. reward in baserunning. It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the Tigers were underwhelming in 2017, and by underwhelming, I mean bleeping horrific.
At the end of the article Casey welcomed any questions about individual players, and I, unable to help myself, inquired about Nick Castellanos. Casey replied that Castellanos was an interesting candidate. If you take a look at the player chart in that article, Nick is the little dot next to Kole Calhoun—ranking as very high risk for a slightly above average reward for those too lazy to look.
The interesting thing is that Nick was one TOOTBLAN shy of the league lead this year at 11. Shout out to Jose Ramirez for doing one more dumb thing than Nick on the base paths in 2017. The gist here, is that if Castellanos could cut down on the TOOTBLANs he’d easily be considered an above average baserunner. As the sounds of everyone saying, “Tell me something I didn’t know,” reverberate across the Midwest, I have to wonder if Ron Gardenhire actually gives action to the lip service of improved baserunning we’ve heard repeated every spring for the last several years. There is certainly room for improvement.
In terms of Statcast’s raw sprint speed metric, Castellanos’ 2017 numbers will probably surprise you. After getting leaner and faster over consecutive offseasons, the Tigers’ new right fielder actually grades out pretty well in the footspeed department. Castellanos ranks 135th in the majors, tied with relatively speedy players like Cameron Maybin and George Springer.
Around the horn
In case you had forgotten that Tim Tebow is playing baseball. The Rangers struck early to sign Doug Fister. Why most baseball bats come from Pennsylvania. How Cooperstown’s vendetta against PED users is hurting otherwise eligible players.